Before I delivered, I logged on to BabyZone to get advice on attempting a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section).
My first delivery, two years ago, was a nightmare. I was induced with Pitocin because of high blood pressure at 40 weeks. I was in labor for 30 hours before becoming fully dilated, when I started to push. The baby's head and shoulders got stuck and the doctor finally ordered a C-section.
I remember the pain of recovery being worse than the pain of labor, and being stuck in the hospital and the house for a long time afterwards. I couldn't eat anything for one day, and after that, only liquids for two days. I had also developed an infection, not to mention the big ugly scar. Later on, I decided that I would never be induced again, and I really did not want another C-section. I lost 35 pounds between pregnancies to try to lower my blood pressure. It worked for most of the pregnancy.
At about 36 weeks, I started dreading the doctor visits because I didn't want them to find anything wrong. I wanted to go into labor naturally and deliver vaginally. My doctor offered to do a repeat C-section or to induce me at 38 weeks, parly because he knew that the second baby is generally bigger that the first, and my first was eight pounds, four ounces.
I had a tough decision to make. I talked to lots of mothers who had delivered naturally, and to others who had had C-sections. Some told me to schedule the repeat C-section. They said, "It's easier, you can plan on it, and it is much less traumatic when you don't go through 30 hours of labor first."
I heard one story of a uterine rupture that left the baby disabled for life. I also talked to people who couldn't believe the doctor would even offer a repeat C-section when a VBAC is so safe. I finally decided I wanted to attempt a VBAC, and told the doctors that I wanted to go into spontaneous labor.
At 38 weeks the blood pressure started sneaking up. At 39 weeks (on a Thursday) the blood pressure was up again, and they sent me for blood work. I returned the next day and they said I was negative for Toxemia, but they wanted to see me again on Monday. Friday night I went to bed thinking, "I know I am going to end up with another C-section".
At 5:00 a.m. my two-year old woke up screaming, so I brought him in our bed. He was just settling down when I felt some pain in my abdomen. I started to notice a pattern, and got up to time the pains. The contractions were four and a half minutes apart. I told my husband, and ran a bath thinking that I could labor in the comfort of my own home for a while (like they show in Lamaze). That didn't last long. The contractions were getting stronger, and the bath wasn't helping. My husband called the doctor and my mother so she could come stay with our son. We got to the hospital at 7:00 a.m. and they checked me. I was 5 cm. dilated already. I got an epidural and the pain went away. It was great! I watched the Olympics while my body kept working on delivering the baby. The doctor got there at 11:00 a.m. and checked me - I was 10 cm. dilated, but the head was still at -2 station.
He decided to put me on my left side and not to break the water - thinking this would bring the head down. It worked pretty well, but the head was still too high to push. A little while later he decided to break the water and see if that helped. When he was out of the room, our very experienced nurse talked the resident into letting me push. She was convinced it would help. By the time the doctor returned at 1:00 p.m., the head was much further down. However, my coccyx bone was in the way, and he didn't think I could push the baby out. At this point, I still didn't know if I would end up with a C-section.
They took me to the OR and gave me more anaesthesia. The doctor used suction and forceps. They weren't saying much to me, but I heard, "This baby has huge shoulders". That's when I knew that the head must be out. I few minutes later I saw the baby, Sumner, being pulled out, and taken to the waiting pediatricians. They didn't want him to breath because of all the fluid in his lungs. They finally told me I had a healthy, nine pounds, five ounce baby boy.
I was so relieved that I wouldn't need another C-section! The baby ended up fine, and my recovery was great. The best part was that I could eat real food right away! That night I got up and went to the bathroom on my own. The IV's came out and I could sit up and move around. I didn't need morphine or massive pain medicine. Now, two weeks later, I feel great! I highly recommend trying for a VBAC if you are presented with an option. I was very nervous about my decision, but today I am so glad I did it. Now, if I can just survive breastfeeding! But that is another story...